MISSOULA – After months of intensive training, the University of Montana’s Grizzly Battalion Army ROTC outperformed 10 other schools in the Task Force East Ranger Challenge Competition at Fort Harrison, near Helena.
A team of 10 ROTC cadets from UM spent the past three months training on a variety of warrior tasks and battle drills, including rifle marksmanship, pistol marksmanship, climbing and rappelling, tactical combat casualty care, night land navigation, reacting to enemy contact, employing hand grenades and unit fires, calling for indirect fire and executing a rotary wing air movement.
“The cadre and cadets at UM take full advantage of our location to implement tough and realistic training,” said Mackenzie Young, a competitor on the UM Ranger Challenge team. “Compared to other schools around the nation, the Grizzly Battalion has more opportunities than many of the other schools we competed against.”
The competition is held annually at different host universities in the Pacific Northwest. This year, the Grizzly Battalion outperformed teams from California, Nevada, Washington, Idaho and other Montana schools to earn the title Task Force East Ranger Challenge Champions.
During the event, the cadets recognized the ultimate sacrifice made by two UM and Grizzly Battalion alum, First Lt. Joshua Hyland and Pfc. Kristofor Stonesifer.
“These two individuals lost their lives in 2005 and 2001, respectively, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” said Tyler Bryant, UM ROTC assistant professor of military science.
The Grizzly Battalion Team will compete in the 8th Brigade, U.S. Army Cadet Command, Ranger Challenge Competition at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington, in January. If they win, they will continue to compete in the Sandhurst Competition at West Point, New York.